LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson held a news conference Wednesday morning to discuss election reform bills proposed by state Republicans.
The proposed election bills would change how the state handles absentee ballots and early voting, among other things.
Included in the 39 bills are requirements for voters to submit a photo ID, prohibit the unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and restrict the hours in which people could drop their ballot in curbside boxes.
Watch the news conference here:
Benson, along with organizational leaders and elected officials from across the state, denounced the bill package, calling it voter suppression.
“The bills that make up the majority of this legislative package do nothing to advance the integrity of our democracy; they simply undo many of the policies that made last year’s election the most accessible and secure in our state’s history,” Benson said. “Instead of working across the aisle to listen to clerks, the state Bureau of Elections or voters, those behind these bills choose to ignore the data, truth and best practices and promote policies that will silence the voices of all voters. Their actions are an embarrassment and an affront to every citizen they are sworn to serve.”
Others participating in the news conference included Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, state Sen. Paul Wojno, the Democratic vice chair of the Michigan Senate Elections Committee, the Reverend Dr. Steve Bland Jr., president of the Council of Baptist Pastors and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Speakers addressed specifics of the bill package and the obstacles it would create to voting access for Michigan citizens.
“The bills in this package show no trace of the expertise, insight and data that have been shared with legislators in good faith by election administrators on both sides of the aisle,” Byrum said. “Sensible improvements to our election processes are needed, but those reforms should make our elections more inclusive, more efficient and more secure.”